Archive for October, 2013

How I Bought A Stunning Hi-Fi With Blu-Ray And DVD/CD Player In Pak Chong, Thailand

I Bought A Delightful Hi Fi And Cinema System In Pak Chong For A Fraction Of The Cost Of My UK Hi Fi

Learn From My Purchasing Tactics To Buy Your Dream System For A Song

You may find my purchasing tactics a bit strange but they worked for me.

I ended up with a superb Hi-Fi and home cinema system delivered to my do and installed and tested for a fraction of the cost I paid for my system in the UK. And it’s far better quality in delivering the sound and pictures.

My home hi fi and cinema centre cost well over £15,000 (750,000 Baht) but I bought a system in Pak Chong that delivers a better experience for only 43,820 Baht (£876.40) and we got a free electric barbeque and an electric kettle thrown in! Now on to the tips that you can use when shopping in Thailand to get such a bargain as I did – whatever it is you’re buying.

Video Showing The Hi Fi We Bought In Thailand

Hot Buying Tip No One – Buy A Fluorescent Light Fitting First

This will pay off handsomely as I explain below. To give you a guide here is a photo of the florescent light fitting I bought:-

Image of the Fluorescent Lighting Fitting Essential Equipment When Buying A Hi Fi In Thailand

Fluorescent Lighting Fitting – Essential Equipment When Buying A Hi Fi In Thailand

This is actually a LAMPTAN light fitting. you could try other makes but I can only vouch for a LAMPTAN light fitting. And here is the box it came in:-

Image of the Box From The Fluorescent Light - Essential To Buy A Hi Fi In Thailand

Box From The Fluorescent Light – Essential To Buy A Hi Fi In Thailand

Above the LAMPTAM fluorescent light fitting box. Now that you can have the box, you can throw the light fitting away. It’s just the box that is needed.

Next I Went To The Hi-Fi Shop And Looked At Some Systems

The hi-fi shop was actually not a hi-fi shop at all it was a do-it-yourself superstore called Home Pro. They sell kitchens, bathrooms, lighting (this is where I bought the Lamptan fitting), and all that kind of stuff for fixing up or fitting out a house.

Image of Signs Indicating Home Pro Thailand

Signs Indicating Home Pro Thailand

They also have a small section selling TVs and Audio systems.

I didn’t actually go to the store to buy an audio system either. I went to buy another light fitting like the one I had already and took the empty box along so that I could get the same model.

The Security Sticker – Don’t Steal Empty Boxes!

When I walked into the store with the empty Lamptan light fitting box an assistant stuck a sticker on it. this apparently is what they always do so if anyone takes anything into the store. the idea is that when you leave the store you show the sticker at the checkout point and they can’t accuse you of stealing the object.

I didn’t mind having their sticker on my cardboard box but thought it rather funny that they thought someone might want to steal an empty box!

Buying The Hi-Hi Audio System In The Home Pro Store At Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Once in the Store with my empty Lamptan cardboard box with their sticker on it I went over to the Audio System stand and was quite taken with the clarity of one of the systems playing. It was badged as Pioneer which I recalled from a long time ago was an American reasonable make.

My Own Hi-Fi System In UK. Before I carry on with the story I should add that I am a bit of a Hi-Fi addict and have a superb system at home that cost well over £15,000 (($22,000 or 750,000 Baht).

That system has PMC Speakers and Cyrus electronics. Each loudspeaker has it’s own amplifier and each amplifier has it’s own power supply. The CD player also has it’s own power supply.

The clarity is superb. But it’s really not the right system for me. I play heavy rock music a la Creedence Clearwater Revival (AKA CCR) and I want a loud sound with full bass. This hi fi can’t give me that.

The Demo Of The Audio System In Home Pro

The audio salesman asked me if I wanted to hear any particular music since it was currently playing Thai music. He showed me a box of DVDs and CDs and I chose one called (can’t remember) but it turned out to be an American rock band which suited me fine. It was a DVD and the picture appeared on the TV of a live recording. The sound was excellent, plenty of deep bass.

The Last Day Today Sale

To cut a long negotiation story short the salesman kept offering me all kinds of price cuts and money-off vouchers (there was a sale on which I now know to be a permanent sale) saying that this was the last day I could get the system at that price.

I asked a lot of questions about what was included and couldn’t get a clear answer, except that he said ‘everything’ was included.

That didn’t satisfy me so I got the the salesman to point to each piece of equipment that was included in his price.

It seemed that there were five loudspeakers! Also it turned out that the DVD player wasn’t included.

So we had a negotiation on that and I bought a Blu Ray player that would also play DVDs and Audio CDs.

Also some cables weren’t included so we had a negotiation on that.

A Hi-Fi Schematic Drawn On An Empty Lamptan Light Fitting Box

To be absolutely sure I borrowed the salesman’s pen and drew each item of equipment on the only piece of paper I had which was our good friend the empty Lamptan Light fitting box.

You can see from the sketch that one HD cable was free but the other cable I had to buy.

Image of Hi Fi Schematic Drawn On Lamptan Box

Hi Fi Schematic Drawn On Lamptan Box

Click on the image above to see a bigger version. Opens in new window.

A Hi-Fi Quotation Drawn On An Empty Lamptan Light Fitting Box

It was the same story with the price.

I had to mark up the Lamptan box with what I thought the total price was.

I started out at 44,480 Baht then the salesman said no, it is 42,480, then he said to add 670 x 2 for the cables.

The total then became 45,040 – no 43,820 Baht!

Image showing Hi Fi Price Drawn On Lamptan Box

Hi Fi Price Drawn On Lamptan Box

Click on the image above to see a bigger version. Opens in new window.

I should add that the salesman spoke very little English hence the need to be clear with the Lamptan box what was included. I loved that Lamptan box!

Anyway we sealed the deal when he agreed to deliver the system and install it that same day. I paid for it using my U.K. Debit Card.

Installing The Hi Hi Audio System In Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

The salesman and his worker duly turned up with the system and started to install it. He said we should have some shelves at the back of the sofa to put the small speakers and this was when I discovered we had bought a surround sound system.

Well we didn’t have the shelves so he just wired it up as it was in the shop.

Image showing Pioneer Hi Fi System In our Retirement House

Pioneer Hi Fi System In our Retirement House

Above, click on the image to see a bigger image. Opens in new window.

There were more speakers behind the TV!

Image showing More Pioneer Hi Fi Speakers Behind TV

More Pioneer Hi Fi Speakers Behind TV

After the salesman had left I put on some CCR rock music and turned the sound up.

It was terrific.

That sub woofer which has it’s own power supply and amplifier really got the floor vibrating.

Now we frequently put on some CCR CDs turn up the sound and go into the garden to listen to it!

The neighbour loves it and sometimes asks us to put it on and turn the sound up! They listen to it from their garden!

I don’t need to bring my Hi-Fi from the U.K. over after all.

The Surround Sound Experience

When our son Alex came to visit us a few weeks ago we watched a movie on DVD. The sound was absolutely fantastic.

When bullets were flying  I was ducking  out of their way and when helicopters were crashing the house shook with the nose of the impact.

It was fantastic.

Alex said it would be much better with the rear speakers in the correct position. Must put up those shelves one day.

The Pioneer Audio System Specification

I never bothered to ask the salesman any technical details of the system.

I would normally ask what the power rating are for example. I just bought it on the basis of the sound.

I still don’t know what the power ratings are.

But just in case you may considering buying a similar system I have scanned the technical details from the manuals that came with the system but that until now I have never opened!

When I opened the manuals not all of them had the specifications, so I got those from online.

First here is the list of equipment and the prices. This is from the Home Pro Receipt:-

Number Item Unit Total Description
101595 PIO VSX-523-K 1 EA 13,990 13,990 Multi-Channel AV Receiver
249646 SUBWOOFER PIONEER S-RS3SW 1 EA 6,000 6,000 Speaker-Woofer
101083 PIO ANDREW JONES SP-FS52-LR 1 EA 10,000 10,000 Speaker-Front
101083 PIO ANDREW JONES SP-C22 1 EA 4,000 4,000 Speaker-Center
101090 PIO ANDREW JONES SP-BS22-LR 1 EA 5,000 5,000 Speaker-Rear
100436 PIO BDP-150 1 EA 6,490 6,490 Blu Ray Player
281950 HDMI HAI HC-2018 1.8 M 2 EA 670 1,340 Cable
600061 TPW 1 EA 0 0 Installation?
TOTAL 46,820  Thai Baht
Less Voucher 3,000  Thai Baht
TOTAL to Pay 43,820 Thai Baht

Next here are the specifications for the loudspeakers:-

Enclosure SP-BS22-LRBass-reflex Bookshelf SP-C22Bass-reflex Center Channel SP-FS52Bass-reflex Floorstanding
Configuration 2-way 2-way 3-way
Frequency Range 55 Hz – 20 kHz 55 Hz – 20 kHz 40 Hz – 20 kHz
Nominal Impedance 6 Ohms 6 Ohms 6 Ohms
Sensitivity (2.83 V) 85 dB 88 dB 87 dB
Maximum Input Power 80W 90W 130W
Cross-Over Frequency 3 kHz 3 kHz 250 Hz & 3 kHz
Magnetically Shielded No Yes No
Dimensions (W x H x D inch) 7-1/8″ W 12-9/16″ H 8-7/16″ D 18-1/8″W 7-1/8″H 8-7/16″ D 8-7/8″ W 35-3/16″ H 10-5/8″ D
Weight (each) 91bs 2 oz 13 Ibs 7 oz 25 Ibs 13 oz
Woofer 4″ 4″ (x2) 5-1/4″ (x2)
Midrange N/A N/A 5-1/4″
Tweeter 1″ 1u 1″

And here is the Subwoofer specification:-

S-RS3SW Specification
Enclosure Bass Reflex
Driver 30cm Cone
Frequency Range 27 – 1000 Hz
Power Output (PEAK) 330 W
Power Output (RMS) 200 W
Dimensions (W x H x D) 360 x 437 x 455 mm
Weight 15.2 kg
Power Requirements AC 220-240 V 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption/Stand by 184 W/ – W

Then we have the amplifier specification which Pioneer call a Multi-Channel AV Receiver:-

VSX-523-K Specification
Audio Technologies
Phase Control Yes
MCACC Room Calibration Yes
Advanced MCACC Room Calibration Yes
Advanced Sound Retriever Yes (2 ch)
Auto Level Control Yes (2 ch)
Video Technologies
Ultra HD (4K) Pass Through Yes
Deep Colour Yes
 x.v.Colour Yes
Audio Formats & Licenses
DTS-HD/Dolby TrueHD Yes
DSD Playback (2.8 MHz) Yes (Disc)
Sophisticated Listening Modes
Front Stage Surround Advance Yes
HDMI™ (3D, ARC) Yes
Made for iPod and iPhone Yes
Digital Audio from iPod/iPhone via USB Yes
Front USB Input Yes
Advanced Control
Standby Pass-Through without CEC Yes
HDMI Standby Input Switching Yes
Auto Power Down Yes
HDMI Input/Output 04-Jan
USB Input 1
Digital Coaxial Input 1
Digital Optical Input 1
Preamp Output 0.1 ch (SW)
Audio Input 1
AV (Composite) Input 2
Monitor Video Output (to TV): Component/Composite 0/1
Power Output (1 kHz, THD 1 %, 6 ohms 1ch Drive)
Front 125 W/ch
Centre 125 W
Surround 125 W/ch
Dimensions (W x H x D) 435 x 168 x 331.5 mm
Weight 8.3 kg
Power Requirements (depends on region) AC 110-127/220-240 V
50/60 Hz
Power Consumption/During Standby 415 W/0.1 W

And finally you will want to see the Blu-Ray PIO BDP-150 player specification which you see by clicking here.

Here are the system details and specifications online:-

I’m sure you’ll agree that it is a superb system?

Shame I can’t demonstrate CCR playing on it for you.

But I Can Show You Some CCR Music Right Here

I didn’t get into CCR thirty or forty years ago when they were in their prime. In fact my journey of discovering CCR and the music of the founder John Fogerty started a couple of years ago right here in Pakchong (Pak Chong) at the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011. Here is a video I took featuring the CCR Song “Bad Moon Rising”.

Thai Video Movie #4 – Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Bad Moon Rising

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising lyrics:-

I see the bad moon arisin’
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today

Don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

I hear hurricanes a-blowin
I know the end is comin’ soon
I fear rivers overflowin’
I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Don’t go around tonight

Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

Hope you got your things together
Hope you are quite prepared to die
Looks like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye

Well don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

Don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

Remembering Two Years Ago

This CCR song reminds me of two years ago when we went to the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year 1 (plenty of movies on that page).

It was at that time (Dec 2011) that we were negotiating a contract to build our house with our first builder, Pongsak. The contract was signed on 2 January 2011. Now it seems like light years away, but it was only two years.

The Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year festival will be on again this year. I don’t know if I will go or not. It’s late at night and I’m normally in bed at 8 pm or before.

We’ll see.


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